Assembly Republicans considering increasing money allowed for members' expenses

2012-12-04T17:53:00Z 2012-12-04T20:20:55Z Assembly Republicans considering increasing money allowed for members' expensesMARY SPICUZZA | Wisconsin State Journal | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com

Assembly Republicans are considering raising the amount of money the 99 members of the Assembly can claim for their expenses.

"It is just something they are considering," said Kit Beyer, spokeswoman for incoming Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester. "Nothing has been decided."

Senate Republican leaders have rejected the idea.

"I would not support raising the per diem right now," said incoming Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. "I think the state Senate is more focused on making sure we pass a fiscally responsible budget and work on legislation that will bring real jobs to Wisconsin."

But higher reimbursement rates for the Assembly could still pass for that chamber because the organization committee of each house sets its own rates.

Legislators can currently claim $88 per day ($44 for Dane County area members) for food and lodging expenses for each day spent in Madison on legislative business. That "per diem" allowance rate has been the same since 2001.

That money is addition to the lawmakers' salaries, which was $49,943 during the 2011-2012 legislative session, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau. The speaker of the Assembly receives an additional stipend of $25 per month.

Vos is considering the change about a month before he is sworn in as speaker.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie had no comment on the proposed change.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said he didn't see the per diem change as a priority, but added that he thinks "it makes sense" to peg state lawmakers' reimbursement rates to the per diem rates received by federal employees, such as a percentage of the money that they receive.

Hotel rates and food costs have increased since the per diem rates were set more than a decade ago, Barca said.

The current reimbursement rate for federal employees who travel to Madison is $145 per day.

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(22) Comments

  1. rockysfan
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    rockysfan - December 05, 2012 8:34 am
    ROFLMAO! Thank you for my giggle of the day.
  2. rockysfan
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    rockysfan - December 05, 2012 8:34 am
    Never has.
  3. rockysfan
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    rockysfan - December 05, 2012 8:33 am
    Yeah, you and a lot of other suckers in this state bought that hook line and sinker. Happy now? Recall doesn't look so bad now does it?
  4. rockysfan
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    rockysfan - December 05, 2012 8:24 am
    Let's hold the state employees hostage while we hike our per diem. Who even gets a per diem expense allotment these days anyway!?! Typical rethugs, give me mine and yours!
  5. Willac
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    Willac - December 05, 2012 7:35 am
    I'm sorry for my error earlier - how many days were spent in session in 2012, for which state legislators were paid nearly $50000, plus their per diem and other expenses?
  6. This Observer
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    This Observer - December 05, 2012 7:15 am
    If this proposal passes, the GOP can no longer claim to be fiscally responsible, or that Wisconsin is "broke" and/or in a "crisis." If this proposal passes, however, the GOP can solidify its disconnect and greed. Hubris, too -- let's not forget hubris.
  7. spooky tooth
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    spooky tooth - December 05, 2012 7:07 am
    No WI representative should get a per diem raise if they (1) voted for cutting the wages and benefits on other public workers or (2) voted to cut funding for public schools. What a bunch of hypocrites!

  8. digger
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    digger - December 05, 2012 7:02 am
    I like this Vos guy, he's doing everything for the people, he'll fit nicely with Rock Star Scottie and company!
  9. digger
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    digger - December 05, 2012 6:59 am
    The focus is and always will be raising the $$$ in their pockets!
  10. grampabucky
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    grampabucky - December 05, 2012 6:18 am
    Face it all you TBaggers, You've been had again. The stupidity in Wisconsin is just amazing.
  11. freddiebell
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    freddiebell - December 04, 2012 10:29 pm
    Remember, folks: they work for you, not the other way around. Demand accountability and hold them to the reasonable standard that, as the stewards of our public funds, they have a primary responsibility to act first and foremost in our best interests, not their own.

    If time and money are tight for the rest of us, if we must make sacrifices and do without, then make them live up (down?) to the same standard. If they fail to do so, we can and should seek and vote for alternative representation. In the end we get what we put up with, for better or for worse.
  12. iponder
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    iponder - December 04, 2012 10:17 pm
    We are the smallest state with a full time legislature. It is time to go back to a part time legislature that actually requires them to work a real job. More importantly they would have to focus on only the important issues.
  13. Willac
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    Willac - December 04, 2012 10:02 pm
    How many weeks did they won last year for their $24000?
  14. iponder
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    iponder - December 04, 2012 9:21 pm
    Lets not forget that that they gave themselves raises when public employees were taking pay cuts. Dont ever kid yourself into thinking that the Republicans are the fiscal conservatives.
  15. MadCityYokal
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    MadCityYokal - December 04, 2012 8:57 pm
    Don't listen to their words watch their actions.
  16. MadCityYokal
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    MadCityYokal - December 04, 2012 8:55 pm
    True that.
  17. freddiebell
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    freddiebell - December 04, 2012 8:27 pm
    Let's see ... other state employees haven't gotten raises in years and years, in addition to earlier furloughs which cut their earnings by three percent per year and then the permanent negative impact of reforms instituted through Act 10. Some state legislators feel those good, hard-working people who "need to sacrifice and share the burden" deserve nothing, not even an occasional cost of living adjustment. But they will take care of themselves at the first opportunity to do so. Hypocrites.

    Apparently it doesn't matter what happens to the rest of us as long as they "get theirs." I'll certainly remember that at the ballot box if they choose to do so. Legislators, too, are not irreplaceable.
  18. concerned_citizen
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    concerned_citizen - December 04, 2012 7:06 pm
    wait, I thought these guys were the fiscal conservatives, saying "we're broke", and focused on jobs jobs jobs, like a laser
  19. fluteplayer
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    fluteplayer - December 04, 2012 6:53 pm
    It would be a lot cheaper to move the Capitol police out of the old cafeteria in the basement of the Capitol and reopen it for the legislators. There is no reason they can't get along on $88 per day. Perhaps an enterprising individual could open a boarding house or two. They could even rent apartments for that amount of money, and make their own breakfasts.
  20. XYZ321
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    XYZ321 - December 04, 2012 6:10 pm
    Republican priorities:

    1) Eliminate same day voter registration
    2) Put partisan political appointees in charge of GAB
    3) Give themselves per diem raises

  21. XYZ321
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    XYZ321 - December 04, 2012 6:08 pm
    I guess "do more with less" doesn't apply to them.
  22. Mr LaMarr
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    Mr LaMarr - December 04, 2012 6:04 pm
    They need to follow walkers example and "brown bag it".. Eyes rolling!!!
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